Learning to live a healthy lifestyle can be difficult. One of the more difficult aspects can be changing up your diet. Eating healthy will make you feel great, look great, and of course increase your overall health, so it is definitely worth making the change. However, with all the diet fads and trends that are out there, along with multiple food companies claiming their food items to be healthy with their marketing, etc., how are you supposed to know what is truly healthy and what isn’t? Unfortunately, there are a lot of foods out there that claim or have a reputation to be healthy, but actually aren’t…
#1 Energy bars
Many times, health bars, granola bars, etc., that are advertised for energy or protein, aren’t as healthy as they are being portrayed. Many of these bars have little nutritional value and are so full of sugar that you might as well eat a candy bar.
#2 Diet soda
In the last 10 years or so, a lot of research has gone into artificial sweeteners. It turns out that the large majority of sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners are actually quite horrible for you. If you are drinking diet soda to try and lose weight, think again, artificial sweeteners have actually been linked to preventing weight loss and even to increasing stored levels of fat.
#3 Sweetened yogurt
Yogurt has gotten the reputation as a healthy snack. This used to be true before companies started adding so much stuff to their yogurt snacks. Flavored yogurts typically contain loads of sugar, and if they claim to be “lite” then they likely have unhealthy artificial sweeteners which aren’t good for you either. If you want to eat yogurt try natural Greek yogurt with no added flavors or sweeteners and simply add your own fresh fruit.
#4 Processed breakfast cereals
Most breakfast cereals, even ones that claim to be healthy, aren’t. Processed breakfast cereals usually have a ton of sugar and other chemicals that you don’t want to put into your body. Often cereal boxes will try and confuse the consumer into thinking they are healthy by claiming, “gluten-free,” “low fat,” or “whole grain”. The problem is, these things don’t always mean something is healthy for you. Often you will find these labels, but when you look at the ingredients the cereal is full of refined grains, sugar, and artificial chemicals.
#5 Dried fruit
Don’t be confused just because it is fruit that it is “healthy.” Many times, companies add sulfur dioxide to preserve the freshness as well as add sugar to sweeten. Dried fruit usually still has some health benefits such as the vitamins and fiber, it is best to double check that the dried fruit you are buying doesn’t have added preservatives and added sugar.
A lot of times wraps are seen as a healthy alternative. The problem is that sometimes there is more tortilla than there is protein and veggie inside. Another problem is not knowing what is in that tortilla as many are processed, dyed, and unhealthy.
#7 Fruit juice
There is a huge misconception when it comes to fruit juice. Most of the time fruit juices hardly contain more than 1% of actual fruit juice. Typically, they are loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings and have no health benefits at all. Even fruit juices that claim to be healthy sometimes aren’t, they may have vitamins, etc., the overload of sugar outweighs any health benefits.
#8 Agave nectar
Agave nectar has gained a very well-known reputation to be a healthy alternative to sugar when it isn’t all it is cracked up to be. It actually has more fructose in it than any other sweetener.
#9 Skim/low-fat milk
Another very common misconception has to do with the reputation that skim/low-fat milk has gotten. Recent studies have actually shown that fat isn’t bad for you like everyone thought, and it actually doesn’t contribute to weight gain as much as sugar and carbs do. Sure, there are bad fats, and you should remember to have everything in moderation, but you can put the low-fat milk back on the shelf. Skim milk is actually less healthy in that most of the vitamins and calcium are stripped away when the fat is taken out, and many companies even add sugar to try and make up for the taste.
When everyone thought that fat was the enemy, they switched over to margarine. It turns out margarine is actually much less healthy than butter. It is full of artificial ingredients as well as hydrogenated vegetable oils that are highly processed.
Granola is another food that is mistaken as healthy. Most of the time granola contains a ton of sugar. When buying your granola or muesli, make sure to check the ingredients and go for the one that is natural and contains a blend of oats, whole, grains, and natural ingredients but skips the added sugar (honey is a great alternative).
#12 Veggie chips
The truth about veggie chips is that they hardly contain any vegetable benefits. By the time the chips are processed most any nutritional benefits from the veggies are removed and then artificial colors and flavors are added to give the chip it’s veggie look and taste.
If you are interested in living a healthy lifestyle that typically means adjusting your diet and exercise routine. Do your research before purchasing foods that claim to be healthy and learn how to balance foods that actually are.
A large part of living a healthy lifestyle has to do with how much exercise you get. A great way to ensure you get that exercise in is by joining a fitness center in Arlington. Here at Fitness Nation, our health experts will be happy to help you learn what it takes to lead a healthy lifestyle. If you have any questions or would like to join don’t hesitate to contact us or come by today.